Meet Edirin Edewor: From Job Hunting to Building a Business for Online Publishers and Entrepreneurs
#CreatorStories showcases the honest personal experiences of digital creators who monetize their knowledge of a skill and sell it on Selar.
We share these stories every week to inspire you to create and sell a product out of your wealth of knowledge and be a part of the digital creator economy.
This week, we turn the lights on Edirin Edewor.
Let’s get to know her, shall we?
Can we meet Edirin Edewor?
My name is Edirin Edewor, I’m a multiple Amazon best author, speaker, coach, and publisher. I’m the founder of the Online Publishers and Entrepreneurs Network, also known as OPEN.
What was your career journey like before becoming a multiple best-selling author, coach, and entrepreneur?
I studied Agricultural Science and graduated at the top of my class from the University of Benin.
Since I graduated, I have never had a job. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I sent lots of applications, but didn’t get any opportunities.
I even had to take lots of professional certifications to make my CV look more solid. I have certifications in project management, strategic management, financial management, diplomas in entrepreneurship and business, HSE levels one, two, and three, and NEBOSH, you name it, I’ve probably done it. But with all these things I couldn’t get a job.
I moved to Lagos in 2014 after my NYSC program, hoping to get a job in Lagos, but that didn’t happen. So I started doing small businesses on the side to pay the bills. After a while, I accepted that jobs weren’t really coming to me so I focused on the businesses I was doing. I did 12 businesses and 9 of them failed because I wasn’t taking it seriously.
I had done a diploma in interior design and started a company and was working for mostly residentials. In 2016, my company was nominated for Quality Company of the Year Award and we won.
But at that time, even though we already started having some successes, it just felt like something was missing for me. I felt like I could do more with myself. Around the same time that I had those feelings, I got diagnosed with early-onset rheumatoid arthritis. That was in 2016, and It was so bad that my hand had to be in a cast, for a while.
I had to stop work. I was also doing my MBA while I was doing my business as well. I had to drop out of school for that. I was at home for a long time thinking about what to do next with myself when I started joining Facebook groups pertaining to personal development.
I liked the kind of content they were creating, and I thought I could write, so I started writing pieces and sharing on those platforms. They started getting noticed, and one of my coaches at the time told me to create my group and share my pieces with them.
That was how the whole journey started.
Tell us about the Online Publishers and Entrepreneurs Network (OPEN)
The Online Publishers and Entrepreneurs Network (OPEN) is an online community of 1,000 members on Facebook.
Since its inception, we have grown to be a community of 40,000 members from about a hundred countries. However, in December 2022, we decided to rebrand, hence we started again with a new identity “OPEN: Self Publishing for Authority and Visibility”.
The new group is now at 1,000 members and is aimed at helping people to empower themselves by sharing their stories, improving their writing skills, and building credibility for their brand using book publishing.
We’ve expanded beyond just book publishing to multimedia publishing, and we started that journey by helping to publish our first graphic novel on Amazon, for a brand called Magic Capital Studios, which also became a bestseller.
That’s OPEN in a nutshell.
How did you get started with the creator economy and digital products as a whole?
When I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I was told I couldn’t do hard work anymore. Since I was doing a Jewelry and Interior design business at the time, I had to stop and look for other means to make money.
I started listening to people on social media platforms talking about how they were making money from the comfort of their homes. I saw public speaking as one of them but being a very introverted person, I looked for another.
At that time, Facebook Live was a thing and lots of people were doing it, so I started it. They were awful in the beginning but I got better as I practiced and became consistent. In 2017, I did Facebook Live videos twice a week, every single week for 10 months without missing any days. I called them the free coaching Tuesdays and Thursdays. That was the single biggest action that I took in 2017 that began the creator economy for me.
I leveraged social media to show up and speak to a large group of people. I was able to build authority fast because I used videos and since people could see my face, it easily built trust. Later on, I learned that I could just record the sessions without going Live on platforms like Zoom, and people would pay to have access to the files.
It was terrifying in the beginning because I had imposter syndrome. I didn’t think I had anything of value to share. But I had written a small 19-page book back in 2016 called a Productivity Checklist, which I somehow learned how to publish on Amazon and became an accidental bestseller.
And seven months after that I wrote another book called The A – Z of eBook Publishing. Steve Harris, who was my Coach at the time, basically forced me to write that book and promised to write the forward of the book If I could do that. I was able to write that book in just 11 days. I also published it and decided to launch it. Launching the book onto a Facebook community gave me a start and changed my life.
Steve Harris is a huge part of my journey and he helped me get my first start. I had a lot of other people who I looked up to, who gave me all the encouragement I needed to do something that almost nobody had done before, which was teaching Nigerians how to get published internationally at the time and that was how I got started.
How can creators leverage content to build a community and sell their brand?
When it comes to creating content, people think that they have to be doing something new every single day. That’s not true. For me, I repurpose lots of the content I have. So there’s no need to create new content every day.
For example, from one of my books “The A to Z of Ebook Publishing,” I created two courses, one about how to turn your book into a money-making machine, and the other was a coaching program whose content I still got from the book.
From that same book, I created quotes for social media and content for other speaking engagements or webinars I had.
So repurposing content is huge. That’s the big secret to showing up every day because you can create one content and use it in different formats.
You can transcribe a video into an ebook and turn it into a lead magnet, or you can transcribe the video into an entire blog post or break it down into several blog posts or break it down into several social media posts.
Showing up and creating content is great. Having content on multiple platforms is awesome, but you don’t have to create brand-new, unique pieces of content to put on these different platforms all the time. You can easily take what you have and repurpose it as regards putting out content and growing a community.
How can creators organize and arrange their thoughts and experiences into a digital product, e.g a book?
The first thing I would say is to be a repository of knowledge. The more you know, the easier it is for you to be able to explain things.
If you choose a particular niche for example, try as much as possible to learn as much as you can about that niche.
Things like what are the problems that people face in that particular area? What challenges do they encounter and what are the best solutions?
Building an audience of people who are interested in what you have is important. It is not enough to buy social media followers and fill your platform with people who don’t even know why they’re there. Build and foster relationships with people.
Create content around the things that they struggle with the most. And if you don’t know, ask. There’s no harm in asking your audience what they’d want from you. When you have an idea of what they want, you can do your research to increase your knowledge.
Once you have that, the next thing you want to do is find out the best solution to your audience’s problem. How can you take them from where they are to the level of transformation that they require in three to five steps?
Write down these steps and name them. Then arrange them in order of priority. Once you’ve done that, the next thing you want to do is figure out the best way to offer this transformation to your audience. Would it be better as a book, course, masterclass, monthly program, or membership program? If it’s something that people can take the information and do themselves, then you don’t need to hold their hands.
The solution you are trying to give, plus the best form in which to deliver that solution will help you determine the right kind of product to create.
What has been your biggest challenge in coaching people to become authors?
The biggest challenge has been the mindset of the people that I’m trying to work with. I meet a lot of people who would like to write books but they don’t feel that they are good enough. So trying to help them to overcome that mindset is one of the biggest challenges I face because I find that once people are able to believe in themselves that they can do it, the rest becomes easy.
How have you managed this challenge?
I tell my audience not to wait till they are in a position of authority to write a book because writing a book helps you become an authority.
Once you have authored the book, you become the authority and you are first of all, the authority on the subject of you. I believe that everybody has a book in them. Everybody has an experience. Everybody knows something that somebody else is struggling with.
We tend to underestimate what we know and overestimate what other people know. But when we realize that we are probably a couple of steps ahead of a lot of people who are trying to come behind us, we know that we have something to offer.
We see you’ve done a lot of collaborations and partnerships, how have you built relationships and collaborations with people to influence your brand reputation and growth?
One of the things that I found is that people like to collaborate with other people who are getting results. If you are getting results on your own and then you approach somebody for collaboration and partnership, they’re more likely to help you because they know that you are serious, and you take action.
The challenge I see a lot of people have is that they are just starting out and are already looking for collaborations. There’s something I call the multiplier effect. You must have something first before you multiply it by asking for more in terms of partnerships and collaborations. Do what you can with what you have, where you are, while you can, and get as many small wins as possible when you are starting out.
Next is social proof. Social proof is important. Don’t listen to people who tell you that actions speak louder than words. Your words are very important in this social media space. You have to show your work. In building collaborations and partnerships, it is the work that you have done by yourself, especially the ones that you did without any help that speak for you.
When did you earn your first money (commission) from creating and selling digital products?
I hosted a 7 days webinar where I taught people about goal setting. I sold the class for 5000 and 7 people paid, even though two out of those seven people are my family members (lol). But I hosted the class on Zoom and taught these people for seven days straight. I wouldn’t do that again anyways..lol) But it showed me that people will pay you to provide a solution for them and you could literally create money out of thin air. All I had was my laptop, access to the internet, and my knowledge of Goal Setting.
What’s the average amount you make from selling digital products?
What is your sales strategy that other digital creators can employ for their digital products?
- Building trust and being relatable with my audience.
- The money is in the list. (Email List). Don’t build your house on rented land. Beyond just social media, have your own list, even if it’s a WhatsApp list or email list, have it, so you can always keep your audience.
- I am a huge advocate of webinars because videos help you establish trust fast. It also helps you to establish yourself as an authority in your field.
What’s one lesson you’ve learned from your years of experience as a best-selling author and coach?
Things will always change. Being innovative to stay relevant is as important as having a relationship with your audience. Instead of treating them like you are a celebrity, come down to their level so that you can be relatable to them.
People trust people they can relate with; the more trust you build, the more people stay. That is why you hear people say they have people who have been buying their product for over 5 years – they have stayed because of the level of trust and integrity they have built.
With your multiple achievements and career awards, would you say you have achieved career satisfaction?
Yes and no. In the past 5 years, we’ve helped over 1,500 authors get published, we’ve helped people start over a hundred and fifty businesses, we’ve helped people go from no income to seven figures per month, and even more. People have come out of financial dependency to build a life of financial freedom and are also doing their own things as well.
However, we want more. During our 5th anniversary, we announced that we are having a ten-year vision to help ten thousand authors get published.
Beyond the publishing part, we are also expanding into multimedia publishing. This means helping people to publish graphic novels, and comic books, creating anime and tech shows, TV series, and YouTube channels that will help bring them money. We are also creating our magazine and exploring OPEN book publishing.
Because of the rising trend that focuses on African storytelling, we want to make sure that we position our people to be able to take advantage of those opportunities.
Aside from showing us what being a badass best-selling author, entrepreneur, and international speaker looks like, what else do you do?
I am a huge comic and movie girl. I have a wonder woman and superman costume but nobody has ever seen me wear it (laughs). I am also a huge fan of thrillers. I read a lot of thrillers, e.g, Michael Crichton, Stephen King, Michael Connely, all of those thriller books. I am obsessed with those. I am also a huge history buff, I am obsessed with world war I and II history, Greek history, Roman history, and Ancient Egyptian history as well. When I am not reading or watching documentaries, I watch history shows. I also like food.
What advice would you give to digital creators in Africa who are inspired by you?
Take advantage of the opportunities available. There is no better time than now to become a digital creator as the world is becoming more global. You can tap into the global market especially if you leverage existing platforms. I know that it is Selar that is interviewing me but this is the truth.
I have people from all over the world who are now able to buy my products because I have a Selar account. People who couldn’t buy my books or courses or pay for my classes and programs before are now able to because Selar allows them to pay in dollars or with Paypal or Apple pay, whatever it is, it is secure and people trust it and purchase from there as well.
Leverage technology and never feel like your content is too local that people are not interested. We published a Nigerian graphic novel book on Amazon, and we did not even announce it, we hadn’t launched but the book was already a best seller and it is already making money and selling on Amazon.
We haven’t said a word about that book, but guess who is buying it? People in the Abroad- Americans, all the five-star reviews we have gotten are from people who got the book from America. We were really shocked and excited about it. So don’t be a local champion as a digital creator. Yes, there is money in Nigeria, and yes you should definitely sell to Nigerians but also think about expanding your content to the rest of the world because there is a massive renaissance – I call it the Africa Renaissance.
Now everybody is excited about anything in Africa, so as a creator, you have a huge opportunity to stake your claim not just being a TikTok dancer or creator, but creating valuable, educational content that people are interested in.
Do not be afraid to go global with your content. And if you are not yet ready to create your own digital product, take advantage of affiliate marketing and promote other people’s products. If you have an audience and you don’t know what to do with them, promote other people’s products to them. Do not sleep on the internet.
It’s time to earn your first $1 online. It could be more, or it could be less. But how will you know if you don’t start?